Bernie Sanders’s new TV spot is incredibly effective and unlike anything we’re seeing from other candidates.
Sanders doesn’t even speak during the 60-second ad, save for a requisite “I’m Bernie Sanders and I approve this message” at the end. Instead, he puts emphasis on Americans, on his supporters.
The ad showcases different regions of America—the rural countryside, the urban city—and a variety of American families as a guitar gently strums in the background. It intertwines shots of animated crowds at Bernie Sanders rallies as he engages with his supporters. The music swells and Simon and Garfunkel’s voices intone that, “They’ve all come to look for America,” as thousands of pictures flash on the screen: individuals who have all made small campaign contributions for Sanders.
Sanders’s message has always been about empowering individual voices over the boom of corporations and the wealthy. His ad speaks to this ideology—it focuses on the people who have helped build his campaign, and implicitly promises that his presidency will be about helping Americans from all walks of life.
The ad is compelling in its simplicity and singularity; it does not fall into the cliché traps that most election spots do.
Hillary Clinton’s ad, for example, goes for the conventional. A male narrator speaks about her accomplishments and qualifications, throws in a few digs about the Republican candidates, and mimics every other campaign spot we’ve seen.
Sanders goes against the grain, and the gamble pays off